A comparison of the effects of nicotinamide and progesterone on functional recovery of cognitive behavior following cortical contusion injury in the rat

Todd C. Peterson, Gail D. Anderson, Eric D. Kantor, Michael R. Hoane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


The primary goal of this study was to compare clinically relevant doses of progesterone and nicotinamide within the same injury model. Progesterone has been shown to reduce edema and inflammation and improve functional outcomes following brain injury. Nicotinamide has also been shown to be an effective neuroprotective agent in a variety of neurological injury models. In the current study, nicotinamide was administered beginning 4h post-cortical contusion injury (CCI) with a loading dose (75mg/kg, i.p.) combined with continuous infusion (12mg/h/kg, s.c.) for 72h post-injury. Progesterone was administered beginning 4h post-CCI at a dose of 10 or 20mg/kg, i.p. every 12h for 72h. This resulted in the following groups: Injured-nicotinamide treated, Injured-progesterone-10 treated, Injured-progesterone-20 treated, Injured-vehicle treated, and Sham. Functional recovery was assessed with two spatial memory tasks in the Morris water maze (MWM) the acquisition of a reference memory task and a reversal learning task. Neuropathological assessments were conducted in the cortex and hippocampus. It was found that both progesterone (10mg/kg) and nicotinamide improved reference memory acquisition and reversal learning in the MWM compared with vehicle treatment. The lower dose of progesterone and nicotinamide also reduced tissue loss in the injured cortex and ipsilateral hippocampus compared with vehicle. The beneficial effects of progesterone appear to be dose dependent with the lower 10mg/kg dose producing significant effects that were not observed at the higher dose. Direct comparison between nicotinamide and low dose progesterone appears to suggest that both are equally effective. The general findings of this study suggest that both nicotinamide and progesterone produce significant improvements in recovery of function following CCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2823-2830
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number18
StatePublished - Dec 10 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • CCI
  • nicotinamide
  • progesterone
  • recovery of function
  • therapy
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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